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Poster: Lou Davenport Date: Oct 4, 2007 7:20pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: How good is Bob? JOTS cont'd...

Hey Tell! Before I forget, I want to thank you again for pointing me to the Charlie Miller reworkings of 10-12-68 and 10-13-68, which are indeed remarkable shows.

And thanks also for reasserting the question of Bob. Let me explain myself, as someone who ranked him well below Jerry, Phil, and Bill, and below even 1970 and Death Don't Have No Mercy (aside to anyone who finds that sentence perplexing: please check out the rank insanity of the disparate comparisons we all blithely made in the lunatic poll thread below).

I have great respect for Bob's contributions to the band. In fact, I have found myself appreciating more and more how radical Bob's chords are, and how much they add to the jamming. How could I then have ranked him so low? Only because I think that Jerry and Phil are simply the two most creative and interesting musicians in all of popular music. And while I ranked Bill some ways below them, I also consider him to be in a quiet way one of the most remarkable drummers in popular music. He seldom calls attention to himself, yet he adroitly adapts himself to the rest of the band's intuitive music-making in a way that few other drummers could have. So as much as I respect Bob's contributions, I still ranked Bill above him. There's no insult in being ranked fourth in such stellar company.

How could I rank Bob below years like 1972 and 1970, or songs like Death Don't Have No Mercy and Scarlet Begonias? The performances of a year or a song are for me dominated by the many astonishing things Jerry and Phil do, and so I value the best of them above the sum total of Bob's contributions, as pivotal as Bob's contributions may be to the overall effect.

As a cordial and inconclusive counterpoise to Tell's example of the Bobless Hartbeats shows (which I actually kind of like in a low-key way), let me offer the points in many Eleven jams from 1969 when Bob drops out for a bit and Bill all but drops out, leaving Jerry and Phil to improvise as a duet. I always look forward to those moments, and relish their joint musical tightrope walk. Maybe the excitement of those moments for me comes partly from their playing without Bob being kind of like walking a tightrope without a net, thus testifying to Bob's foundational role. But they do provide an example of how great the music can be even when Bob is out of it.

Having said all that, I can't resist calling attention to how preposterous it is to simultaneously rank musicians, songs, and years--and how gratified I am that the madcap contributors to this forum have allowed themselves to be drawn into such lunacy. Thank you all, you crazed gluttons for music.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 4, 2007 7:54pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: How good is Bob? JOTS cont'd...

Well said, Lou; off course it is always more complex than our simple analyses let on...I think it safe to say that the two of us agree that some elements profoundly affected us (I too think of Jerry, Phil, Hunter...as huge), but that we can also appreciate Bob's often overlooked contribution.

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Poster: Tommy Gunn Date: Oct 4, 2007 8:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: How good is Bob? JOTS cont'd...

I most definitely will take you up on that offer.


Much obliged,
Tommy Gunn




This post was modified by Tommy Gunn on 2007-10-05 03:34:27

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 4, 2007 8:30pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: How good is Bob? JOTS cont'd...

Got it. Email on the way. Can delete this now.